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Shakespeare and Company

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Oh, Shakespeare and Company. I've been to this store twice, the first time to buy a tote bag in 2014 and the second time to buy another tote along with a copy of To Capture What We Cannot Keep earlier this year. I knew it wasn't the same store as the one that the Lost Generation frequented, but I had no idea of its rich history or what an interesting person George Whitman was. I first thought this book would be a quick read for me because it is filled with large-print text and a kind of scrapbook arrangement, but I was so absorbed in it I ended up savoring the pages and taking forever (for me) to read it. This book is a wonder and it made me want to both wander the world and follow my wildest dreams. I absolutely loved learning about Whitman's life and the evolution of Shakespeare and Company and will look at the store with completely new eyes the next time I am there. I will also be sure to leave room in my suitcase to bring this back with me on my next Paris trip for a special souvenir.

5/5 Stars
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All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

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Marie-Laure lives in Paris with her father and is blind from age 6. She has memorized the model of their Paris neighborhood that her father made her from wood and loves to read Jules Verne.

Werner is a German boy who lives in a group home with his sister. He teaches himself how to fix a radio they found and they listen in secret while the other children are sleeping.

We get to see Marie-Laure and Werner grow up into their teenage years, where they play very different parts in WWII. What I love most about this book is also what took me the most to get used to - the way it is written. It is comprised of MANY tiny chapters, alternating between Marie-Laure and Werner, with a few other points of view sprinkled throughout. For a few chapters in the beginning of each "book," or section, it takes place a few years ahead of the other chapters. It sounds confusing but I promise you will get used to it! I love that the short chapters file everything down to the most important information; there's no filler here.

All the Light We Cannot See is beautiful, heartbreaking, thoughtful, and a fantastic read.

5/5 Stars

2017 Summer Book Bingo

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My shiny new bookshelves and reading chair. Note: many TBR books and all my cookbooks are missing from this picture.


Recommended by a librarian: The Little French Bistro by Nina George

Adapted into a movie: Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky

Genre that is new to you: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

Fiction: Will You Ever Change? by Aurélie Valognes

Washington state author: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Choose a book by its cover: Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Graphic novel: Nutmeg Vol 1

Banned: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

About art or an artist: Vincent by Barbara Stok

Poetry: Paroles by Jacques Prévert

You're been meaning to read: A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman

By an author of color: A French Girl in New York by Anna Adams

A SAL (Seattle Arts & Lectures) speaker: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Science nonfiction or science fiction: Gauntlet by Holly Jennings

Young adult: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Recommended by an independent bookseller: Firebug by Lish McBride

Collection of essays or short stories: Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

Reread a book you read in school: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

LGBTQIA author or character: A Conjuring of Light by Victoria Schwab

Biography or memoir: Bonjour Kale by Kristen Beddard

Set in another country: The Snowman by Jo Nexbø

Published the year one of your parents was born: Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan

Finish in a day: The Portrait by Antoine Laurain

Recommended by a young person: Murder on the Eiffel Tower by Claude Izner

So many books! It was fun to set a pretty good-sized goal for myself and to actually follow through with it. I didn't end up pushing myself as far as new genres or authors go and I was able to read most of them from my TBR. I probably won't participate in this book bingo next summer, but I think making a small goal for next year to read a certain amount of books outside of my comfort zone sounds fun.

My five favorite books from this list are The Portrait, All the Light We Cannot See, A Man Called Ove, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, and Down Among the Sticks and Bones. Lets keep things positive and not talk about the ones I did not enjoy, eh? Reach out to me personally if you want that convo.

If you're interested in what I'm reading when I'm reading it, follow me on Goodreads. I always rate the books I read and occasionally add a mini review if I'm not going to write up a full one. I'm currently at 76% of my reading goal for 2017, having read 114 out of 150 books.

5 of My Favorite French Books (Wednesday Whimsy #11)

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Bonjour and happy Wednesday! I am currently in the air and on my way to Atlanta for a road trip to New Orleans for Nola StoryCon. I get to spend a week in the south eating the best food and enjoying one last chance at summer weather (Seattle has been very disappointing, but then again no one has AC so that's probably a good thing). I am very excited to be meeting Charlaine Harris and Delilah S. Dawson for the first time and seeing Kevin Hearne again. Posts from my previous trip to NOLA can be found here, here, here, and here.

I thought I'd change things up a bit for this Wednesday Whimsy and do a list of five of my favorite French books. Here you go:

5. The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo. The only cookbook on the list and I know I have mentioned it several times on other WW posts, but I use it so much that it has to be on here. Favorite recipes have been: Crispy rabbit with Meaux mustard, Quiche Lorraine, Chicken and mushrooms in a white wine sauce, and oeufs en cocotte. And there are so many more on my list to try.

4. Out of Sorts by Aurélie Valognes. Written by a French author, it's about a severely grumpy old man who learns that he doesn't have to be. It's a great read! I listened to the audiobook.



3. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby. The movie version made me cry. This book was written by a man who was completely paralyzed after a stroke. He dictated this entire book one letter at a time by blinking his eyes. That fact alone deserves a read by everyone.

2. Seven Letters from Paris by Samantha Vérant. Probably the book I recommend the most to people, after anything by Gail Carriger. This book gets happier and happier as you read it, until you want to explode with how great it is. My review here.

1. The Red Notebook (and The President's Hat and The Portrait, but I didn't want to take up three spots with one author) by Antoine Laurain, my tied-with-Gail-Carriger-favorite-author. Laurain's books will make you whimsical and happy and feel like you can do anything with your life. Like write a book, which is what I started doing after reading The Portrait. My review of The Red Notebook here.



In searching for blog links relating to the books above, I discovered a similar post I did almost a year ago on the same topic. Read it here!

Also book related, David Lebovitz has a new book coming out this fall and he's going on tour! To the United States! AND SEATTLE! So excited! Sorry for all the exclamation points!!!!!

All of the pictures in this post are courtesy of my June 2010, and first, trip to Paris.

Why LA? Pourquoi Paris? by Diane Ratican (Early Review)

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Diane Ratican, a native Californian, gives us this whimsical book comparing two of her favorite cities in Why LA? Pourquoi Paris? Between charming illustrations of Paris by Eric Giriat and LA by Nick Lu, Ratican narrates the main points that make these two cities alike and different.

I've seen a lot of compare/contrasts between New York City and Los Angeles, or Paris and NYC, but never LA and Paris and I like that that sets this book apart from the rest. I have never been to LA and learned quite a bit about the city. I am a huge Francophile and have read a lot about Paris and France so there wasn't really new information for me there but I still enjoyed reading it. This would make a great read for any Paris, LA, or art enthusiast and definitely feels more like an art book than a travel book to me, though there are some travel suggestions.

The second edition of the book is coming out on September 14, 2017 and will be bilingual English and French. From what I gathered in skimming the French section, the LA bits are focused on presenting it to the French audience reading and the Paris parts focused on presenting Paris to English readers. The formatting was a mess on the copy I read, and even so I still enjoyed the book. After looking at what is available to see on Amazon in the first edition, it made me excited for the book all over again and I will have to go check it out in person when it does come out. It is also a great way to practice my French!

4/5 Stars

I was given a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday Whimsy #10

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Bonjour! Happy Wednesday and Happy September. I've spent the past month obsessively reading so I could complete all the squares for the Seattle Public Library's Summer Book Bingo. It felt pretty good to set a goal for myself and complete it, even if it is something I was going to do anyway. Read with a purpose, I say. Now I'm on to catch up on ARCs on NetGalley.

Book

One of the final books I read for Summer Book Bingo (a roundup post is in the works) was All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I'm writing a review for it, but let me just say that it was great and I highly recommend it.

Also, I've been cooking up a storm out of The Little Paris Kitchen, which I believe I previously mentioned on a WW post. I've never cooked so much out of one cookbook and the vast majority of the recipes have been a hit. The kindle version is only $2.99, if you're into that sort of thing. Two of my favorites: crispy rabbit with Meaux mustard (I used drumsticks) and chicken and mushrooms in a white wine sauce. And she's working on a new cookbook!

Links

As I buckle down and try to have a plan for what I want to eat for the week, this article on what this French blogger eats in a day, and others like it, will be my main inspiration.

I love this cheeky article featuring Jeanne Damas on fashion.

If you're local to Seattle, SIFF's French Cinema Now starts at the end of the month. I will try to go to as many as I can, just like last year. Last year I saw Eva and Leon, and SUPER AMAZING movie that is not available for me in the US on DVD >.< I keep checking Amazon regularly just incase...

Blogs

Daphne from Mode and the City has a few posts on the summer road trip she did a few months ago. Here's the first post. (I read in Chrome where it will translate for me ^.^)

Speaking of great summer vacations, Aurélie went to Singapore and Bali and her pictures are so, so dreamy.

I love Clotilde's monthly roundup emails so I can see what poem she memorized and what museum she visited for the month. This time she did a Best of Summer post, recapping her family vacation and sharing that her new cookbook is up for preorder.


The above photo is a pastry from a French bakery right next door to my hair salon. Guess what I have for breakfast each time I go? Currently I am a week out from my Atlanta/New Orleans road trip (flying into Atlanta then driving to NOLA) so I am in planning and packing list mode. I am looking forward to some real summer weather and the AC to go along with it.

Wednesday Whimsy #9

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Bonjour friends and happy Wednesday. I feel like I started my week off on the right foot because of a post by Georgianna Lane on Instagram. She's hosting a giveaway and the question she asks to be answered to win is, "leave a quick comment about something that inspires you this week." I had two answers: my writing group (where I currently am writing from. I worked on book stuff too though) and looking forward to my Atlanta/New Orleans trip next month. Thinking about what I was excited about for the week on Sunday gave me something to do besides dread the work week.

Book

I watched Suite Française on Netflix a few weeks ago. It had been on my watchlist for way too long and I decided to try to knock it out. I LOVED the movie. It was romantic and tragic and the lead eye candy didn't hurt it much either. I went out soon after to pick up a copy of the book (and was also able to apply it to my summer reading bingo at the library) and was disappointed. It took me well over a week to read and I did not find myself looking forward to finding time to read it. There were some really great parts in it, including the POV of a cat with great writing, but overall I can't say I recommend the book. It's pretty slow. I find it fascinating though that it was written in secret while the author was experiencing Germany take over France as a Jew.


Links

The beauty routine of Jeanne Damas on Atelier Doré.

Five Parisian tricks that will improve your kitchen.

Seven lifestyle rules French women swear by.

Decoding the secrets of Paris fashion. One of the best "French lifestyle" articles I have ever read!

A fun video: Jeanne Damas' guide to French pharmacies and beauty products.



Video

I have been pretty into Jeanne Damas this week. I love her clothing line, Rouje (can it be Christmas now so I can have these beautiful dresses purchases for me?), her French-girl perfect Instagram, and the short videos I've found of her on youtube. My first embedded video(!):




I can has this apartment please?